“The bedroom is a hallowed, shrine-like environment for the women in Karen Ann Myers’s work. These paintings and prints, on view in her show In Her Bedroom, at Georgia College Museum in Milledgeville through December 13, convey intimate, vulnerable moments of young models against highly textured, detailed backgrounds of bedding, wallpaper, and everyday objects. Candy-bright quilts and wallpaper seem to vibrate behind young models like auras—extensions of the women themselves.”
Words by: Ivy Williams, Contributing Writer, Burnaway
“My bedroom, and more specifically my bed, has always been an important physical space. It’s interesting to note that the women in my paintings were not captured in their own bedrooms, but were actually documented in my bed. The rooms in my paintings do not exist and are fantasies of rooms I wish I had. I collage all my reference photographs together to create many combinations of bedrooms that hold objects that are significant to me.”
“Some of the City’s most exciting new artwork can be found at Robert Lange Studios. This month (February), Robert Lange Studios will feature the work of figurative painter Karen Ann Myers in the show “Mouthful of Diamonds”. “Myers’ work is a contemporary update of traditional portraiture,” gallery owner Megan Aline says. “It continues to exceed the expectations of collectors.” The paintings in “Mouthful of Diamonds” are studies of young women in the bedroom, and explore the hyper-sexuality of femininity.”
Words by: Elizabeth Pandolfi, Contributing Writer, Art & Antiques
“Karen Ann Myers may be the assistant director of the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, but her own career as a contemporary artist is also taking off—last year, she was named one of Oxford American magazine’s “100 Under 100: The New Superstars of Southern Art.” With an MFA in painting and women’s studies coursework under her belt, she’s become known for tackling topics of femininity and identity in her portraits of scantily clad young women in their bedrooms.”
Words by: Katie Hurst, Contributing Writer, Charleston Magazine
“Karen Ann Myers’ paintings represent both the external and internal worlds that she inhabits. For her, a painting is more than just pigment on a canvas. It is a visual diary, a way to document one’s life. Her new series, titled Mouthful of Diamonds, juxtaposes female models in specific poses with geometric patternings and designs.”
Words by: Joshua Rose, Editor, American Art Collector
“Although Myers still paints a single self-portrait ever year “as documentation of growing and maturing,” she now enlists friends as models to pose in her own bedroom. Her home studio on the Eastside is filled with aerial-view paintings of scantily clad, reclining girls wrapped in blankets or quilts, gazing out into space. Their surroundings are sparse, brightened by rugs, wallpaper, and bedding in clashing geometric prints. The women are often curled up into child-like poses, clutching their stomachs or their blankets in a protective way. There’s an introspective, intimate feel to each piece, with a sexual undercurrent.”
Words by: Erica Jackson Curran, Associate Editor, Charleston City Paper
“Myers will unveil Mouthful of Diamonds this February, a technically drastic departure from her work that we’ve seen previously, usually based in organic, floral shapes, and flattened planes of color. This new work retains the focus on a single female figure in a room, but now features crisp geometric patterns, specifically diamonds, and a greater emphasis on perspective, rendering shapes with sharp, precise detail.“
Words by: Stacy Huggins, Editor, Art Mag
“Karen Ann Myers’ series of scantily clad, young females rest on their beds, but seem unrested and uneasy. They look to the viewer in a confrontational and semi-seductive manner, as if being photographed or watched voyeuristically—thus positioning the viewer in an awkward role as the voyeur getting a glimpse into or playing an active role in the intimate space of these young women.
Her subjects have been described as “troubled figures” and “virginal lovelies,” though honestly, to me, they quite poignantly and sharply depict young adults. Isn’t that what your later teenage and twenty-something years are? Awkward, sexual, daring, shameful, richly emotional, and totally complex… and Myers captures all of this quite accurately, beautifully, and seamlessly. There is a quietness in her compositions, despite the loudness of the geographic textiles, wooden floors, and colored walls. And it is a pleasure to explore them all.”
Words by: Ellen C. Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor
“We sat down with our August Artist of the Month, Karen Ann Myers, to discuss Hitchcock, dream jobs, and how she constructs such beautiful patterns and interior spaces…”
Interview with: Sara Kitaeff, Core Event Contributor, Glovebox
“Karen Ann Myers’s anxious, troubled figures are seen from above as they toss in their beds – a Hitchcockian point of view that signals a sort of existential helplessness amplified by the walled confines and oppressive patterning of the rooms.”
Words by: Michael Rooks, Curator of Contemporary Art, High Museum
“Karen Ann Myers is a skilled painter who has created an impressive body of work that explores what it means to be a young woman, circa 2012. Her slim female figures are usually scantily clad, but they always look a little ill at ease, like they’re not quite at home in their own bodies. They sit or lie on their beds, or on the floor, both self-protective and flaunting—the epitome of the young woman whose bedroom is a cozy sanctum of extravagant surfaces (floral duvets, striped sheets, expensive wallpaper). Lost in their own little worlds—imagining future sexual conquests?—these virginal lovelies are nearly consumed by the glorious patterns and prints that surround them.”
Words by: Pamela S. Wall, Curator of Exhibitions, Gibbes Museum of Art
“Karen Ann Myers, Assistant Director of the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston, sleeps, eats & breathes art. Before she was an artist she was a competitive gymnast. So you never know when she might arbitrarily bust out a back handspring. She approaches painting like an athlete approaches training for the big game. Her warm-ups include a ritual of washing her brushes for 15 min., an hour of mixing paint, and putting together the day’s iTunes playlist. She’s passionate about facilitating opportunities for artists.”
Words by: Claire Gibbons
Photo by: Sully Sullivan
“The paintings of Karen Ann Myers explore the contours of female desire in a sex-saturated, pattern-rich contemporary feminist milieu steeped in ennui and longing. Her subjects often confront the viewer with a powerful, confident gaze made all the more jarring by the sexualized context. Using the flattened painterly space as a metaphor, Myers presents myriad aspects of feminine agency with an unsettling clarity. In a sense, she is providing a personal glimpse into interior worlds normally reserved for fiction”.
Words by: Mark Sloan, Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, College of Charleston
“The work of figurative painter Karen Ann Myers explicitly and unabashedly explores the ways in which women are affected by the hyper-sexualized and beauty-obsessed culture that colors our everyday experiences. Her figures show a mix of emotions. Some are strong, empowered by and in control of their own sexuality, while the vulnerability and confusion of others is betrayed in their expressions or poses. Myers’ handling of the female form through the medium of oil on canvas is tradition, but the issues of sexuality, female empowerment, and the seductive appeal of contemporary culture are very pertinent to conversations today.”
Words by: John Fields, Interim Director, UAB Visual Arts Gallery
“Myers’ subjects inhabit a charged psychological space, one that focuses on our cultural obsession with youth, beauty and glamor. The stories she tells of cocktail parties and power games are offset by a deep sense of loneliness.”
Words by: Mary Bentz Gilkerson, excerpt from the 2011 Biennial Catalogue
“Myers’ paintings can be described as a combination of vulnerability, decoration, sensuality and texture – each of these is expressed with great detail in her works. The work is as much about the intricacy of interiors and design as it is women in their true form, rather than objects. Though Myers does not consider her work to be directly political, she feels it is her job to portray the women she paints authentically. This verisimilitude on canvas should include lives that encompass that of the contemporary world and living as a woman in today’s society – complex and nuanced.”
Words by: Samantha Rose
Studio Visit is a series of juried artist books, that offers artists a new and effective venue through which to introduce their work to a serious national audience of art world professionals. Studio Visit presents all two- and three- dimensional media. Each volume of Studio Visit features approximately 150 artists, who have been selected by professional curators.
“MOROCCO. A new sexy book of poetry from Dark Sky Books. Written by Matthew Savoca and Kendra Grant Malone. The minute I read the manuscript, we immediately thought of the artwork of Karen Ann Myers for the cover. Grab a copy and blush a little. It’s good for you.”
Words by: Adrienne Antonson
“Tonight, the Dalton Gallery at Agnes Scott will open their latest group show, a exploration of desires and personal relationships entitled My Sweet, Sweet…. The artists, including Larry Jens Anderson, Caroline Bullock, Jennifer Hartley, Ayodele Heath, Ashley Hope, s. andre keichian, Kate Kretz, Jillian Mcdonald, Forest McMullin, Jason Murphy, Karen Ann Myers, Karen Tauches, Constance Thalken, Joe Elias Tsambiras and Angela West.”
Words by: Wyatt Williams
“Despite sexual images being used constantly on billboards, television and in magazines, sex is a taboo subject in this culture. Rarely talked about in school or in public discourse, artist Karen Ann Myers uses her canvas to bring the subject out into the open. The message her paintings convey is that sex is a beautiful and complex aspect of human behavior. Her interest lies in the psychology of women and the scenery in which they live.”
Words by: Vikki Matsis
“Posing Beauty,” an exhibition by artist Karen Ann Myers, will be on display through Oct. 22 at South Carolina State University’s FAB Gallery.
“Posing Beauty” is an exhibit of large-scale oil paintings exploring the experiences of women in a media-saturated world. Lush colors and textures surround figures ripped from contemporary culture and personal experience.
“Thinking of You. A benign statement, with a sentimentality with which we are all familiar. These moments of private female pleasure and sentimental yearning are captured in Karen Ann Myers’ remarkable show at Luis De Jesus. Myers’ work, like that of Mickaelene Thomas (recently on view at Vielmetter), invites us voyeuristically to a private place where the women are willing and the environments in which they are placed are as sensual as their bodies. Where Thomas celebrates the erotic largesse of black female bodies with larger than life areas of flat paint, Myers focuses on the “blonde bombshell” as a sexual center.”
Words by: Mary Anna Pomonis
Luis De Jesus in Bergamot Station is currently showing a beautiful exhibition of paintings by Karen Ann Myers. In her artist statement, Myers says: I am exploring what it means to be a woman in today’s society. While my solitary female figures are strong and confident in their sexuality, these paintings also offer a glimpse into the confusion and doubt felt by women in their moments alone.
Her paintings are a perfect blend of technique, color and emotional resonance. Be sure to stop by the gallery before the show ends on August 7.
I am exploring what it means to be a woman in today”s society. While my solitary female figures are strong and confident in their sexuality, these paintings also offer a glimpse into the confusion and doubt felt by women in their moments alone. In this way, my paintings serve as psychological self-portraits. Each one is a reflection of feelings and experiences that I myself have gone through, and each is a projection of the progression of my moods and emotions while painting them. Through this projection and reflection of myself in my paintings, each work has a strong link with self-portraiture.
“In a series of mid-sized fleshy paintings of hyper sexualized young women, the work seamlessly combines heavy flat patterns with figuration. Patterns slide in and out of abstraction, only grounded by the figures in the image. Based in self portraiture and personal narrative, Myers work both questions and confirms the objectification and idolization of youth and sexuality in American culture. The fleshy flatness of pattern and color reflect the soft, subtle handling of the figures, and when the figures are absent, the color and line mimic the curves of the forms.”
Words by: Julie Henson
“South Carolina-based artist Karen Ann Myers paints pictures of the beauty women desire, often at the expense of their own sanity.
Myers’ psychologically intense, densely decorated portraits examine our culture’s hypersexualized obsession with glamour and physical beauty, touching on its aesthetic extremes, seductive appeal, and emotional casualties. Each image represents a certain aspect in a sort of collective self-portrait, with her subjects inhabiting a kaleidoscope of loneliness, power struggles, cocktail dresses, and clashing patterns.”
Words by: Shana Nys Dambrot
“Karen Ann Myers says she and Tony Csavas, as painters, deal most with the formal qualities of paint. That they’re both driven by the relationship of color. “Nothing at the Moment,” came from not having any show title ideas at the moment. With both Myers and Csavas scheduled to show their work, it’s the venue’s first dual art show. The two artists created paintings and screen prints for “Nothing at the Moment.” For Myers, screen prints are small swatches of wallpaper she’d one day like plastered behind her paintings; for Csavas, they’re his favorite pieces of the show.”
Words by: Elizabeth Bowers
“Karen Ann Myers is best known as the no-nonsense executive director of Redux Contemporary Art Center. But she’s also a prolific painter, printmaker, and mixed-media artist specializing in narrative realism. Her solo exhibition at Scoop Studios shows off her playful, colorful, and experimental side. Although the experiments aren’t always successful, her work effectively tests the boundaries of traditional gender roles, sex, desire, and intimacy.”
Words by: Nick Smith
“A saturated, lively palette and playful assemblage of patterns produces an ironic, chaotic space to show her neglected subjects. She seeks to comprehend the poses that appear unnatural as they attempt to be pretty when subjected to someone’s gaze, whether a lover or photographer. Thinking of You investigates this idea, as it plays on the viewer as onlooker. She embraces the bird’s eye perspective and other methods of eliminating depth. Karen’s patterns are often well rendered while she experiments with how three-dimensional her figures should be. In Thinking of You, she points out that the body is fairly flat, while the breasts are more rendered.”
Words by: Celie Dailey